Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Live a Long Life

The top ten ways to live longer, according to, are as follows:  

1) Don't oversleep – A study in the ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY reported that people who sleep between 6 and 7 hours per night live the longest.

Personally, I sleep about 10 hours per night. That way, I only need to take two naps during the day, plus I spend so much time in bed that I'm not as likely to be run over by a truck.

2) Be optimistic – Researchers at the Mayo Clinic determined that optimists have a 50 percent lower risk of early death compared to pessimists.

I'm a pessimist and proud of it. Optimists have high expectations which are not always met, causing endless disappointment. However, pessimists are never disappointed because they never expect anything to work out. I'd much rather be pleasantly surprised on occasion than disappointed.

3) Have more sex – An April 2004 study in the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION found that sex keeps us healthy, by reducing stress and making us happier.

Apparently, I'm doomed to live a very short life.

4) Get a pet – Studies show that people who own pets, especially dogs, are less stressed, thus live longer. It decreases loneliness, encourages nurturing and stimulates exercise.

I've always had a dog or two hanging out with me. If I didn't have a dog, I'd be stuck with my alter ego and an oak tree for companionship.

5) Get a VAP – Heart disease is the number one killer in the USA. A traditional cholesterol test only detects 50 percent of the people with heart disease. A VAP test has been shown to detect 90 percent of heart disease patients.

Since I'm in the V.A. medical system, I'll just have to live with 1952 technology and take my chances.

6) Be rich – According to the National Center for Health Statistics, those with the highest poverty rates have the worst health status. Higher incomes permit access to increased medical care.

However, I prefer to remain poor because I don't like to pay too many taxes and no one ever tries to borrow money from me.

7) Stop smoking – Just about everyone on this planet knows by now that smoking is bad for your health and frequently leads to premature death.

I started in junior high and quit ten years later. I did it because all the cool dudes did it. And I quit because I realized that the coolest dudes of all were the ones who had minds of their own.

8) Chill out – A study at Johns Hopkins University revealed that men having the highest level of anger in response to stress were over three times more likely to develop premature heart disease than those with lower anger responses, and over six times more likely to have a heart attack by age 55.

I was often stressed and angry in my younger days, until I finally realized suffering was an important part of life and that I should embrace it.

9) Eat antioxidants – Free radicals are unstable chemical compounds that accelerate the aging of our cells and contribute to various degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's and cancer. Antioxidants destroy free radicals. Research shows certain types of beans and berries are the best sources of antioxidants.

I eat berries once in a while but tend not to eat too many beans, particularly in public, for obvious reasons.

10) Marry well -- According to a study in MECHANISMS OF AGING AND DEVELOPMENT, genetics is an important factor because longevity genes can be inherited. Healthy aging is passed down from generation to generation.

My ex-wife married well, both before and after her marriage to me. I wasn't so lucky. In my own family history, all the men die young and all the women live forever. I think it has something to do with nagging.

For me, the results are mixed. I'm a pessimist, I'm not rich, I oversleep, I've never had a VAP test, I probably didn't marry well and I haven't had any sex since we landed on the moon. On the other hand, I have a pet, I don't smoke, I eat antioxidants occasionally and I curb anger with chill-out resolve by recognizing it to be a weakness.

Quote for the Day -- "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work -- I want to achieve it through not dying." Woody Allen

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and 11:11 EARTH TIME (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where life moves at the speed of slow.

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